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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 21, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

11:00 pm "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell starts right now. we'll e you back hertomorrow night. have a good one. attacks to stop and that request was denied. president obama sent a letter explaining his actions as commander in chief. that explanation fell on deaf ears to a surprising coalition of republicans and democrats who said they have no business dropping bombs on libya. >> we do believe that the u.s. contribution to this will again be diminishing. >> we anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days and not a matter of weeks. >> president obama finally answers questions on why the united states has joined the
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battle against gadhafi or is it a war? what's the plan for gadhafi? >> what's the long-term plan? >> gadhafi needs to go. >> on the end of the third day, air strikes established a no-fly zone in the east. >> she alive, hunkered down in a bunker. >> pro gadhafi forces in bases. partaking sides in the civil war. >> i was thinking about the name. it's an unfortunate. odyssey means a long voyage. >> military and a diplomatic trip to south american. republicans attack him. >> what are we saw was i call it dual track diplomacy. >> looks like we launched a skull scale war. >> some of my colleagues are upset. >> tea partiers and some democrats call it a possible impeachable offense.
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>> only congress has the power to declare war. >> we haven't declared war. >> we are? a war. >> i don't believe we have an obligation to get involved. >> what are if this ends and gadhafi is still in power? >> they are really unclear. >> the most bitter campaign losers attack the president on everything else. >> less dithering and more decisiveness. >> i have never witnessed a worst case of presidential decision making ever. >> a republican who is almost screwed up the courage to say he's running for president. >> that's why today i'm announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to run for the president of the united states. >> good evening from new york. it's just after 5:00 a.m. in libya, day four of operation odyssey dawn. more on that title later.
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coalition forces led by the united states, britain and france continue to enforce a sanctioned no-fly zone over libya to protect the citizens to attacks. the foreign minster requested the council call an emergency meeting to "halt this aggression. that request was rejected. since saturday, american and british ships fired 136 tomahawk missiles at about $1 million each, targeting gadhafi's air defense systems. in 24-hour, allied aircraft has hit at least 32 targets. so far there have been no reports of civilian attacks. two cruise missiles at about $1 million each struck. military officials tell us that gadhafi's chief of staff ordered
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bodies removed from morgues and placed at the compound to make it appear as though forces were responsible for the fatalities. hoping to counter criticism, president obama told reporters in chile today that allied forces will transfer coalition command to nato in the coming days. >> how quickly this transfer takes place will be determined by the recommendations of our commanding officers. that the mission has been completed. let me emphasize that we anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days and not a matter of weeks. >> for more on the allied coalations progress, we turn to jim. jim? >> u.s. and coalition work
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planes are in the air tonight on the prowl for targets of opportunity. libyan anti-aircraft fire lit up the skies over tripoly tonight, another attempt to defend against overwhelming american attacks. a dozen more cruise missiles had military targets as the jets destroyed a convoy south of benghazi. in chile, the coalition was necessary to prevent the massacre of defenseless libyans by muammar gadhafi. >> the leader who lost legitimacy decides to turn military on his own people that we can't stand by with empty words. >> in two days of intensive bombing, u.s. and coalition forces wiped out most of libya's air defenses and safely established a no-fly zone. american war planes also turned guns on libyan ground forces,
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destroying tanks and armored vehicles leaving troops demoralize and in retreat. >> those that were in the i have sinility of benghazi possess little to resume operations. >> overnight, a british cruise missile hit the compound destroying a manic control center. they insist they did not target gadhafi. he was not in the compound at the time. taking out gadhafi is not part of the u.s. battle plan. >> i have no mission to attack that person and we are not doing so. >> u.s. officials fear if gadhafi's own military doesn't take him out, he could survive, creating a stalemate with anti-gadhafi forces and a nightmare scenario that could destabilize the region. >> we enter the serious phase, how do we find an end result that is satisfactory and doesn't
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result in a fragmented libya and a breeding ground for terrorism. >> the u.s. mill has had the lead in these air strikes. president obama said today that the coalition would take over the mission within days. the president also said that arab league nations who pushed hard for this no-fly zone agreed to take a in the operation, but so far only one cutter has even signed up. lawrence? >> thank you very much. joining me now, retired army colonel and military analyst, jack jacobs. you are on 24 hours to be here at msnbc. >> we're don't care. >> this is what you trained for as a broadcaster. what do you make of the progress we made so far? >> to the extent that we will rely on the military establishment to maintain a no-fly zone and knockout enemy
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forces, it's not only a no-fly zone, but no drive and no creep drone. any time they are near benghazi. we have done a great job. trying to make the leap from where we are now across finite gaps to a new libya is a very difficult jump to make. it's difficult to see how the military can do more than it's doing to enable the rebels to make any headway against gadhafi. >> you have the military trying to help a rebel group which is a technologically 18th century group. >> at best. >> worry no real communication, the allies don't have a direct way of communicating with them, do they? >> no. we have the authority that the egyptians are talking to them a
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little bit and trying to ferry arms ammunition and a couple of people in there. the saudis are shipping money in that we know of to buy stuff. at the end of the day, the rebels are in a group and it's a loose coalition of people who don't necessarily like each other very much. at the end of the day, they have one thing in common they don't like gadhafi. nobody likes gadhafi. maybe even the people who are fighting for him. it's difficult to see how we will make the transition from enabling the rebels. turning them into a force that can defeat gadhafi. that will be tough to do. at the end some of the out comes that are suggested is kind of a bifurcated libya. the general said with one part is a breeding ground for terrorism. that's not a nightmare scenario, but it's not pleasant. >> the reports we get from libya that we used on the earlier live show were about disorganization
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of the rebels. they are asking passing cars what's happening at the end of the road to try to figure out which way to go. what has been clear by the no-fly operations of the allies? how do they know what the allies have achieved some. >> that seems to be the biggest challenge. >> making the leap from killing off the bad guys to getting their rebel forces to do whatever they do. i'm not convinced we know who they are. it's not going to be easy. >> what's the best case on where it stands tonight. if you had to do a best case scenario. >> best case scenario, the forces that are supporting gadhafi. we don't like the idea of getting killed every time you move. let us go about our business. >> you see the writing on the wall. >> correct and there is a
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negotiated arrangement. there is talk taking place right now on the ground with rebels and with gadhafi's people. we will negotiate an end and we are not tar 'tis pating. we have loose coalition that takes over libya. it's going to be a mess. it's not egypt. in egypt we have the army that said we are not shooting. we are for egypt. then there is a constitutional convention to the ballot box two weeks after or a month after mubarak leaves. you will not have a real country. this is not egypt. this is libya. it started off as a fake country anyway. trying to get them to work together will be tough. >> if it's a standoff with a no-fly zone containing a weird form of a standoff, isn't that better gadhafi having the chance
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to mow these people down? >> no doubt about it. we are doing god's work knocking off the tanks and preventing them from going to benghazi and killing innocent civilians our stopping that is good news. whatever happens other than that is good news. it's not entirely certain what the administration or nato's end game is. how are we going to affect what will happen? i don't think we have enough people on the ground, but by that i am talking about negotiators on the ground to try to get some semblance of order out of it afterwards the best of all possible worlds, some negotiated settlement and then a miracle happens and you have a democratic libya. the best of all is that kadar r daffy said i'm going out in a blaze of glory and maybe second worse is he runs a terrorist organization out of libya.
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two out of three that are bad and i hope we can make the best work. >> we will hope for the best. msnbc military analyst, thanks for your time. >> the military force with no plan and no real leader. the libyan rebels. richard engle was on the road with them and we will hear what they think about the end goal of the military operation. new goals in the nuclear nightmare in japan. it's tuesday morning and yesterday's black smoke at reactor two has given way to white smokes should a sign that it could be steam rising again. we now have word that power has been connected to yet another reactor, but it will still take a long time to get the crisis under control. ♪ [ fingers snapping ]
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>> that number falls sharply when asked if they approve how president obama is handling the situation. we will discussions the politics of all this next. in tonight's rewrite, the problem with the ridiculous name, odyssey dawn. tim pawlenty's announcement of a presidential exploratory committee could be the flashiest exploratory committee announcement ever. we're america's natural gas. and here's what we did today: we put almost three million americans to work... ...adding nearly 400 billion dollars to the economy. generated over two and a half million kilowatts of electricity... ...enough energy to power a quarter of america. we gave your kids a cleaner ride to school. kept the lights on during a calm day at the wind farm.
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heated 57 million u.s. homes. simmered grandma's chicken noodle soup. melted tons of recycled glass. roasted millions of coffee beans. provided electricity for nearly 29 million home computers. heated your bathwater. cooked your takeout. lit your way home. we helped america import less of its energy. cleared the air by burning cleaner than other fuel sources, with less pollutants and no mercury. and tomorrow, we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at >> tensions within the international community erupted eafr the un sanction military
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operation. cutting off access to the military bases unless nato is put in charge of the operation. something turkey opposes. germany questioned the bizdom of the operation while rushing vladimir putin said it is flawed and reminiscent of a call for a crusade. russia abstained from the council vote last week and at the same time the rebel forces in libyait mighting muammar gadhafi's forces and chief foreign correspondent reports from eastern libya. >> there is a tremendous feeling of relief and gratitude and the rebels. there is a dependency from what we were able to see. the rebels are dependent on military assistance. rebels today celebrated a victory that wasn't theirs, but
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may have saved their lives. these government armored vehicles and artillery were heading into benghazi when they were attacked by western air strikes. if this much firepower reached the city, gadhafi would almost certainly have retaken benghazi. >> they attacked benghazi people and destroyed completely. >> worry renewed confidence, they are on the offensive again. on a highway, we saw rebels heading to the frontline. they siszed their flag and showed us weapons from the smashed army units, including ammunition and rocket launchers. we have decided we will either die or live in dignity, he said. there is a lot of bravado here. they fired guns in the air and they don't even know who their commanders and barely know how to load the weapons
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minutes later rebels drove off to the front with victory signs and this is what is still happening when they reach it. rebels quickly wounded and killed. their strategy seems to be let western military power in tripoly. >> there two groups fighting. volunteers with no military experience who are rushing to the command lines and sometimes being killed or injureded and then the units that defected from gadhafi's army. today here we tried to look for the commander of one of the defected units and he had taken the day off. nbc news. >> the reactions from congress on our military strikes are not falling on traditional lines. it made allies of those on the far right and the far left. >> just a couple days ago i was complaining about the president not coming to the congress to
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get the proper authority to wage war. imposing a no-fly zone is an act of war. instead he was quite content to get his authority from the united nations. i find that just a bit annoying and i hope all americans would find it the same way. >> signing with congressman ron paul, dennis kucinich was on the ed show a few minutes ago. >> how wrong is pop is on this? >> 100%. the constitution makes it clear the barack obama of 2007, the scholar and senator and would be presidential candidate understood that, but somehow the barack obama of 2011 doesn't understand the constitution anymore. it is outside the constitution. the president cannot take this country into war unless there is an actual or imminent threat absent the con70 congress.
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>> in a statement, john boehner wrote the united states has a moral obligation to stand with those who seek freedom from oppression and self government. it's unacceptable for gadhafi to attack his own people and the violence must stop. echoing the speaker of the house, anthony wiener a democrat is often to president obama's left. i don't think we should necessarily take the lead, but use our power for good. >> david corn, msnbc bureau chief for mother jones, i need your experience here to look at this political map of the opposition to what president obama has done and what do you make of it. extreme right and extreme left again. the last time ron paul and dennis kucinich were when they
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voted for reauthorizizations of the patriot act. >> it is a crazy quote. you see the issues of intervention. there is a strain on the progressive side of liberal interventionists we saw that in the reporting that came out and people like samantha pour and aid in the national security council who dealt with with humanitarian issues to be in favor of the action. the ambassadors siding with clinton. you have a long tradition on the side of people who are skeptical. on the republican side, you have the conservatives, ron paul and rand paul of conservatives who don't like spending anything doing anything overseas unless you have to.
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they like to go overseas any chance they get. john boehner you see would love to be in opposition to the president, but still wants to look like a hawk and doesn't want to get in the opposite side, he is trying to straddle the line and doesn't like how the president handled realizations with congress. >> barack obama used to be on the kucinich side of the discussion in 2007. he said we should not mount any such actions unless they involve a threat to the united states. here he is sending a letter to congress saying that he is reporting on his efforts to keep the congress fully informed. consistent with the war powers resolution i appreciate the support of the congress in this action. we are not so sure how much support he has, but is he correct in saying that the resolution authorizes him to do this?
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>> it is a basket sonch vietnam in 1973. we had operations in korea and vietnam without declarations of war. it gives the president the right to engage in military action if he told congress about it. then he can stay involved for 60 days unless congress goes ahead and authorizes the action. there people who on both sides of the issue who said the war powers act is unconstitutional because it restrains the president's power and the people say it's unconstitutional because only congress can declare war. this is reanimated in the last few days. by the conventional interpretation of the war powers resolution, the power is probably within legal rights. that doesn't make it right and doesn't mean the debate will go away any time soon
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he is taking advantage of the law in a way he may not have done in 2007. the story of barack obama is the difference that comes when you have the power and you have the authority and you see a possible massacre happening in benghazi and you have the chance to sort of redefine had what multilateral intervention is. you get the un behind you and partners and you don't take the full lead and you help this coalition and you go ahead and do this. if you have the people on the ground desiring your action. it's a different version of going into iraq. the terms of multilateral intervention in a progressive way. dennis kucinich would not agree with that. >> what are do you make of the disconnect on the poll. 70% enforce the no-fly zone and only 50% approve of president obama's handling of the
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situation. >> that are may be better on the economy. there has been a lot of criticism for not moving fast enough and not going far enough. that surrounds us. one thing that impressed me about obama even when i disagree with him is he has a lot of patience. he has patience this this as well. >> thanks for joining us, david corn. >> thank you, lawrence. >> in japan no one wanted to hear. the all out effort to get power to the reactors won't be the end of this crisis is what we are learning provoking changes in the united states? later, the first serious candidate enters the race for the republican nomination. the big announcement from tim pawlenty which is a giant political maybe.
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the set back in japan and the hopes of getting the crisis under control vanished with the realization of how damaged the critical cooling system is. the congressman joins you me with more on how prepared we are to overt a disaster in the united states. later, tim pawlenty makes it officially unofficial. he is really exploring the idea of running for president. he does it with a video that includes a military fly over.
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an american teacher who went missing struck japan over a week ago is no longer missing. the family of 24-year-old taylor anderson said they received a call from the embassy with the devastating news that her body has been found. anderson has been in japan teaching english for two years and was due to return home in august. operators of japan's fukushima power plant suffered several set backs and worker his to evacuate twice after smoke starred to rise from reactors two and three. they discovered some of the key pumps no longer worked. replacements have been order and when they will arrive is unclear. they forced the government to
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ban the sale of raw milk, spinach and canola and four jurisdictions. traces of radiation were detected in the products over the weekend. in amounts that do not pose a risk to human health in the short-term. the uss george washington is moving away from japan because of long-term exposure damaging the ship. at a meeting, the commission officials said once again they do not expect the radioactive material to have any effect here in the united states. still in light of the disaster, the nrc said they are set to launch a 30-day quick look evaluation of the disaster preparedness and the general conditions of the nuclear plants here in the united states >> we looked at all of the information we are geting for japan and the design basis. >> the u.s. reactors. we continue with the inspection
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program and a high degree of confidence that the 104 operating reactors, an adequate basis to assure adequate protection. >> joining me now, congress ed marky. thank you for joining us. what is your confidence level in our inspection systems and that industry as a whole historically in terms of the possibility of just human error occurring even within systems with certain reasonable designs to them? >> there is always an assumption that man has the ability to make nuclear power plants in a way that mother nature or defects in the plans of those who are designing the plants will not result in melt dons. what we are seeing in japan once again is a warning that mother nature laughs as man makes assumptions they can protect against all of the eventualities.
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my own feeling has been that there is a lot of denial about the need to have effective evacuation plans and the distribution of potassium iodine and thyroid cancer and most likely serious consequences of being exposed to radiation and moving forward, the nuclear regulatory commission is looking at in fact allowing for the licensing of new nuclear plants on earthquake-prone parts of the united states. >> i will put up a graphic of the 50-mile radius of the plant closest to new york city. i put up 50 mys because that's what the government is recommending in japan you get 50 miles away. if indian point had anything happen to it to evacuate 50 miles away from indian point means evacuating all of new york city except for staten island and much of the most populated
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sections of long island and westchester county and all of connecticut and pennsylvania. it is impossible to evacuate that area of about 20 million people in the time you would have to do it which is why precautions like you are talking about become all the more important >> exactly. in the event that there is a melt down and it happens quickly, you have to assume that there might be four or five people who say i live over this way, my kids live over this way and i'm heading that way. even if you are being told by the evacuation people said you have to go this way. these people are told to go this way will go that way on the highway. you can't anticipate the chaos. one of the protects is to handout the pills especially so the children do not contract thyroid cancer
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the push administration said no, they will not distribute it beyond a 10-mile radius we are evacuating people out to a 50-mile radius and the consequence is that people from 10 miles out, the recommendation would be run and run as fast as you can. grab grandma, grab the kids and start running. i think it's unrealistic. we should give people the protects they need to protect their families against the most likely consequences and thyroid cancer. to also go back now after japan and take a look at the evacuation plans to make sure they will be effective. >> the first governor cuomo prevented the opening of the last nuclear power plant built in new york state because it didn't have a sufficient plan in his view. now his son is saying we should look at indian point and probably close it down because the evacuation plan makes no
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sense the only plan is for 300,000 people who live within a 10-mile radius and that has been judged and works for exactly the reasons you are saying. they don't have the people who are going to be seling you where to go. that was optimistic. people are going to be guessing which way they want to go. >> the nuclear power plant on long island that mario cuomo was responsible for leading the effort to make sure it did not open is a classic example. they built is t at one end and yet if people wanted to evacuate they would have had to drive past the nuclear power plant melting down. their only option is to swim to connecticut or london. you have to bring the family there to get off of long island. there is another classic example of where this is and an that an
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accident can never happen let to power plants being built in places where today we would never considering it. they are considering licensing an ap 1,000 power plant that one of the senior scientists said could shatter in the event of an earthquake we should step back and my mother always said try to learn as many lessons vicariously as you can. it's better than learning yourself we should look at japan and realize there was an earthquake in chile last year. there was an earthquake in new zealand last year. there was an earthquake in japan two weeks ago. the west coast of the united states is the fourth part of that quad rant and we need to ensure that we now go back and ensure that diablo canyon and san o no fre can with stand it.
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>> you were a dedicated voice on the history, but to get the wisdom of your mother is more than i could have barring and for. thank you very much. >> i appreciate it. thank you. >> coming up, do you ever wonder about the sig cans of those these military names like operation noble eagle. turns out most of them mean nothing. they are intended to mean nothing. we will dissect the name given the no-fly zone. that's in the rewrite. ♪
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we will tell you in the rewrite what that title should be. tim pawlenty is the first republican who has a shot at the presidency to announce the formation of an exploratory committee. ed schultz will join us. bl ♪ [ both ] ♪ na, na... [ woman ] ♪ na, na-na, na [ men ] ♪ hey, hey, hey ♪ good-bye [ male announcer ] with kohler's powerful, high-efficiency toilets. flush. and done. [ all ] ♪ hey, hey, hey ♪ good-bye we're with you when you're saving for your dreams. [ woman ] when you want a bank that travels with you. with you when you're ready for the next move. [ male announcer ] now that wells fargo and wachovia have come together, what's in it for you? unprecedented strength, the stability of the leading community bank in the nation
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the pentagon has been fired for coming up with the first name ever for a military adventure? so far, no one. two reasons no one has been fired. number one, most of the media seems to think military action has more important questions. two, the media is always excessively differential to the pentagon's war titles. the media is always excessively differential to the pentagon in general. the pentagon gets away with murder and bad titles. they are especially forgiving. we know how tricky they can be and they don't always make sense. like "the o'reilly factor." what does that mean? why isn't it the o'reilly show? titles don't always make sense, for example the last word that is followed by two other shows.
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so clearly what gets said on the last word is not actually the last word on that network or anywhere else. tv titles never have been under much pressure to make sense. it is probably tv titles that gave the people at the pentagon the idea that they could use anything, literally anything they wanted as a title and it would be accepted. adam had the grand impert nens to ask officials about that title, odyssey dawn. our own him in ramsey called the defense department's command office in germany between and nick's notes. here's what we know. each command in the defense department is given a few two-letter combinations that they can use for the titles under this ridiculously complicated system, the command was given three different sets
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of letters that it could use. the words had to begin between jf to jz, ns to nz or oa to of. the group choosing the title chose the o group. oa to of. so the first word had to begin with an o. you will have to rerun this on tivo to make sense of it. you will see it explained. i'm not repeating any of this. they had to use o. that's why where they got odyssey. the second word had to begin with a through f. that's where they got dawn. according to eric hilliard for the u.s. africa command, odyssey dawn has absolutely no meaning.
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we completely agree. but unlike current music lyrics, most of which have no meaning, there is something like life and death. asking the name to have meaning is not asking too much. o, o bam, obama's adventure has meaning. it also has truth and fits with the oa to of bracket. so does obama's bombs. full of meaning. but it's not exactly the way the pentagon or white house want us to think about this nor is obama's fight or anything else i could come up with in the oa to of bracket. i'm one of the words have meanings guys and i'm likely to come up with something too meaningful. help us out. send us your suggestion using the rules on how to name these operations.
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post your suggestion. how hard can it be? i'm the guy who titled this show the last word. bl ents, and can help you keep a healthy weight. ents, campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. and here's what we did today in homes all across america: we created the electricity that powered the alarm clocks and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school. cooked the cube steaks and steamed the veggies. entertained dad, and mom, and a neighbor or two. kept watch on the house when they slept. and tomorrow we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at
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today the 2012 race for the white house began for real, sort of. former minnesota governor tim pawlenty announced he is foreigning an exploratory committee, that phony stage of the campaign when you pretend you are exploring the idea of running. >> this country was fun toed on freedom. we, the people of the united states, will take back our government. this is our country. our founding fathers created it and americans embraced it.
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ronald reagan personified it and lincoln stood courageously. today i'm announcing the formation of a committee to run for president of the united states. >> join the team together. we will restore america. >> the smart republican campaign always mention reagan and lincoln and the not so smart lincoln was a republican. from the ed show here on msnbc and the authority on all things minnesota, tim pawlenty, go. >> i think the tea partiers are going to like this guy. he is a strict constitutionalist. he has gone after education and he was anti-health care he didn't like the stimulus package and slow to dispurse the funs. when it comes to running a tight ship financially, she a good
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guy. >> i picked him because he's the only one that doesn't have a negative like romney on health care and the others have in different ways. haley barber, lobbyists and so. this guy through process of elimination will end up there. he is a good campaigner. >> he is. he is good one on one. very likeable and persuasive in a small group. he's not the kind of guy who will go up in front of a convenz and wow the socks off of you, but he's a smart guy. he has been around minnesota politics for a long time one of the reasons why he had a tight reelection is he is a staunch conservative and is all about the money >> he elects two democratic senators including al franken. >> exactly, but he's a likeable guy and all about the budget. he will energize the base and people will vote for him he would have never won reelection. he only won by 46% of the vote.
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>> he won reelection with 46%? >> he did. the attorney general and export perts thought he had the gubernatorial seat locked up. his lieutenant governor candidate made a statement about ethanol. you have to know what you are talking about. hatch thought it was a trick and he lost with the media and that was late in the campaign and gave pawlenty an opening. tim pawlenty cut education and left the state with a $5 billion deficit. he did interesting accounting and pushed off into the future years. that's why he mentions reagan a lot. he is a true minnesota guy. he was a hockey player in high school and an outdoor kind of guy. he is good one on one and i think the tea party folks, the more they look at him, the more they like him. nowhere near as radical as
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michelle bachman. he is a strong conservative he is say strong social conservative. i think they embraced >> he knows how to pander too. if i was there, i would vote against raising want bebt. that's easy to say since he has no responsibility over it and it's exactly what the tea party wants to hear. >> it is. no matter what the circumstances might be, a bridge can fall down in minnesota and kill 13 people and he will fight infrastructural improvements >> he was against infrastructure spending before the bridge collapse. >> he was. this was no surprise he doesn't believe in big government. any kind of government for that matter. when it comes to education, he is a big voucher guy. he cut money to the point where some districts in minnesota have gone to a four-day school week. park rapids, minnesota. they w